Roasted Chickpeas – crunchy on the outside, soft in the middle!

So its been a while since I’ve posted anything on my blog, it has been a pretty hectic few months…but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped cooking!

Just this weekend I made a tasty snack to take with me for a project I have been working away from home on..however it’s only Tuesday and I’ve just finished the last of snack already! But they are pretty good….

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….. its Roasted Chickpeas!

You’ve probably already seen various recipes and flavours for this healthy snack, but I had to share them with you as they are healthy, easy to make, cheap and extremely tasty! You can also use various flavourings to your liking, sweet or savoury, and they are a great alternative to nuts (I’m pretty sure nuts are my staple food so it’s good to mix things up a little bit!)

This week, I flavoured the chickpeas with pepper, garlic salt, chilli olive oil, smoked paprika and mixed herbs.

If you have any suggestions for flavourings, please do comment!

Playing with flavours

For the rest of this week I am traveling up North to work on a project involving gulls…not too sure what this entails yet but hopefully not getting attacked during the nesting season! But this means I will be driving there tonight and staying until Friday in a bed and breakfast, so last night I decided to have a little granola cooking frenzy and tried out a few different combinations of flavours that i can tub up and take with me.

trio granola (l&l, almond, coconut)

The result ended up with three different flavour combinations:

  • Citrus granola– using fresh lemon and lime zest and juice
  • Coco granola – a mix of toasted dessicated coconut and coconut shavings
  • Bakewell granola – flavoured with ground almonds and almond escence

This time, in addition to my basic granola mix I also added some uncooked quinoa before putting in the oven which adds a tasty crunch!

The verdict….

Unfortunately my trusty taste taster is away with work at the moment, but if he’s lucky I might save him a bit of each and see what he thinks of them. In the meantime, here’s what I think of the flavour combos…

Citrus Granola – This had a refreshing taste with strong citrus flavour. It wasn’t too sharp or bitter but had a nice tangy taste.

Coco Granola – I was a bit disappointed with this granola, but only because the intensity of flavour from the dessicated coconut was lacking. The granola had a great bite to it, really crunchy, but without the added coconut shavings mixed into the cooled mixture it didn’t really taste like coconut. Think I may have to revisit this one…

Bakewell Granola – Now for my favourite! Although I may be being a bit biased as I love bakewell tart…. and pretty much anything almondy! This granola was much lighter in colour (so if you do try this mix be aware it doesn’t brown as much as other granola’s so you don’t burn it!), but it still had a nice crunch to it. The ground almonds created a light flavour and also helped stick the mixture together. If you are a fellow lover of bakewell or frangipane treats I recommend you try this variation!

The Great Snack Challenge: Gingerbread Granola

My first snack has been created, yey! After creating my healthy granola recipe I wanted to spice it up a bit with some different flavours to what you would normally find in the supermarket…and therefore gingerbread granola was born!

This granola contains a huge chunk of fresh ginger root and a mix of spices that are normally used to make a sticky gingerbread cake or men – ginger, cinnamon and mixed spice.

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The outcome was tasty and the boyfriend loved it! An overall success!…I can’t say the same about the pinto bean blondies I attempted to try though

Find my recipe for gingerbread granola here under variations.

Reinventing Granola

Granola is great as a snack, tastes yummy, travels well and full of healthy energy boosting ingredients….right?

To a certain point yes. Granola often contains a base of oats, aiding digestion, dried fruits, supplying nutrients and vitamins, and a mix of seeds and nuts, providing the good fats. But it is also full of sugar, either from syrups, refined sugar or honey that are used to sweeten the cereal and from sweetened dried fruits such as pineapples, papaya, cranberries and banana chips.

I wanted to create a granola without all this additional sugar and find a healthy binder instead, so I began with an investigation into ingredients substitutions.

I’ve often used homemade unsweetened apple puree as a substitute in baking for sugar and butter so i thought this might work and attempted to try it…now the granola tasted ok, but the apple made the ingredients too wet and it failed to get the crunchy texture that granola has… and it has got to be crunchy!

Therefore, internet searching recommenced…

Then I found a few sites that suggested using date puree as a sweetener…and I conveniently had some dates…

Let the cooking begin!

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The Result?

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SUCCESS!

So Scrap the sugary granola and make your own healthier version. And the best thing about making it yourself is you get to add your favourite ingredients!

Check out my basic recipe for a healthy granola!

The Great Snack Challenge!

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So I have a little project going on at the moment and my boyfriend is the guinea pig!

My mission is to create healthy snack foods for my boyfriend by either inventing something completely different or altering recipes, excluding the bad fats, sugars and using natural ingredients. At the moment he works away from home during the week, so these snacks have to be able to travel well too.

One major challenge though… one of his favourite snack foods is cheese puffs.

Now how do you make those healthy?!

You can follow my mission here!